The first crop of medical marijuana in Maryland will become available in 2018, ending years of debate over the issue among state leaders.
Legislation setting up a medical marijuana program in Maryland has been approved since 2013. However, state officials have worked in the intervening years to set up a regulated system. It is expected to finally begin in the early part of next year.
The question for those in Maryland: How do I get it?
The state has crafted a detailed process for medical marijuana use. The following outlines each step people need to take before using medical marijuana.
Register for Medical Marijuana in Maryland
The first step is registering with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC). The patient registry is now currently open through the agency. People can register if they have been prescribed marijuana as a treatment option for qualifying conditions. Non-Maryland residents may also apply if they are receiving medical treatment from a doctor in the state.
Each patient will receive a MMCC patient ID number.
Maryland law allows the use of medical marijuana only for certain conditions. They include glaucoma, severe nausea, chronic or severe pain, wasting syndrome, anorexia, achexia, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms and post-traumatic stress disorder.
For Those Under 18
Children who qualify for marijuana as a medical treatment must have at least one parent also register with the state. The parent or legal guardian must be at least 21 years old.
Visit A Registered Provider
All medical professionals who wish to prescribe medical marijuana in Maryland must also register with the commission. That registration is also currently open. A list of registered providers will eventually be available on the MMCC site.
Patients who want to fill a medical marijuana prescription must get a valid written certification from a provider. The patient will need proof they are a patient of a doctor who also has registered with the state. The provider in turn will need to have written approval of using medical cannabis for treatment of the conditions listed above.
The medical provider will use the patient ID number in the process of issuing the prescription. This will be done through an online system set up by the state.
Optional ID Card
Those who have received a valid certification for medical marijuana from a registered medical provider also can purchase a MMCC ID card for $50. These are optional at this point.
Visit a Dispensary
Patients will then go to a licensed Maryland dispensary to obtain their medical marijuana. These will not open until 2018. To buy cannabis, patients will need a government-issued photo document or a MMCC card. The licensed dispensary will also have access to the commission database and will verify the certification of the cannabis prescription. If a certification is issued but the patient does not obtain the cannabis with 120 days, the certification is void.
A list of cannabis dispensaries will be published on the MMCC site once they are established.
Medical marijuana can be smoked, but also will be available as in capsule, pill and oil forms. However, Maryland does not allow the edible cannabis products that are allowed in places such as Colorado and California.